By: Keyvan Salami 

The threats posed by Iran in the Middle East through its support for terrorism, extremism, and Islamic fundamentalism are undeniable.  Iran's continued backing of various militias has established a so-called Shiite crescent across the region.  Growing domestic unrest, especially after the recent quake that shook western Iran, is plaguing the regime and showing the international community Iran's main chink in the armor.

This was also witnessed on October 29, as the regime launched a massive crackdown effort to prevent any gathering marking International Cyrus Day, in memory of an ancient Persian ruler known to be the author of the world's first human rights charter.

Reports indicate that Iran deployed thousands of Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Basij, and Intelligence Ministry members alongside hordes of plainclothes agents to prevent any possible gathering mirroring the 2016 scenario on this same day.

Iran also resorted to a media campaign inside the country and abroad, claiming to have quelled a plot by "foreign-based dissidents and currents opposing the establishment," as explained in a leaflet distributed by state police warning against any rallies.

Further domestic unrest is witnessed in the growing number of protests by ordinary investors seeing their life savings in state-run institutes plundered.  Protests are mushrooming in cities across the country, responded to by the regime with arrests and harsh measures against crowds whose numbers are growing with each rally.

 The Iranian regime has usurped billions from ordinary people's investments to fuel its wars across the region.  After 38 years, this has left the Iranian populace suffering tremendously with no light at the end of the tunnel.

"The middle class in Iran has been all but extinguished," a report indicates, adding that a large majority of Iran's 80-million populace currently lives in poverty.  City walls across the country are being filled with offers of people willing to sell various body parts, such as kidneys for $2,000, just to make ends meet.

Iran is also widely known for its practice of repressing ethnic and religious minorities, involving harsh persecution, cruel discrimination, and ongoing cultural and economic marginalization.  Tehran's regime also resorts to a higher level of human rights violations in issuing long prison terms and imposing torture, public hangings, and even mass executions.

Iran's "moderate" Hassan Rouhani is known to have carried out over 3,100 executions during his tenure as the regime's president.

Iran is forced to such measures, knowing clearly that it lacks any social base.  One such case was witnessed when Rouhani's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, tweeted about all Iranians being IRGC following the force's blacklisting by Washington.

The response by Iranians mostly inside the country was a display of sheer defiance against the regime.  People view the IRGC as an entity terrorizing not only nations throughout the Middle East, but also Iranians at home.

Developments around the globe in the past year or so have made Iranians realize times are changing.  For eight years, Iran's regime fed off the engagement policy adopted by the Obama administration.  This gave a green light to Tehran for domestic crackdowns and foreign meddling.  While Obama turned his back on the Iranian people, especially during the 2009 uprisings, the U.S. administration under President Donald Trump has time and again voiced its support and solidarity with Iranian people.

On three different occasions, U.S. secretary of state Rex Tillerson has voiced the Iranian people's desire for freedom.

"There are strong feelings and values inside of Iran that we want to promote in terms of one day the Iranian people being able to retake control of their government," he said during his late October trip to India.

President Donald Trump has in the United Nations General Assembly and his October 13 Iran policy speech communicated solidarity with the Iranian population, describing the Iranian people as the first victims of the regime's atrocities.

[W]e stand in total solidarity with the Iranian regime's longest-suffering victims: its own people. The citizens of Iran have paid a heavy price for the violence and extremism of their leaders. The Iranian people long to – and they just are longing, to reclaim their country's proud history, its culture, its civilization, its cooperation with its neighbors.

As seen on a daily basis, the Iranian people are voicing their discontent and defiance of this regime, and especially Rouhani's hollow promises.  A repeat of the 2009 uprising is a nightmare from the ruling regime's point of view.

It is time for the international community to take advantage of this great opportunity and support the Iranian people's demands to establish a true government based on freedom, human rights, and democracy.

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